When three policemen are shot to death in Rio, the repercussions are immediate, the entire police force alerted to the crimes. These murders are followed by three more, in two cases the mistresses of the policemen, the third a case of mistaken identity.
Given the apparent randomness of the crimes, who knows who will be next? What was originally viewed as a conspiracy to extort between the men and their lovers is suddenly revealed as the work of a lone assassin. In charge of the investigation, Inspector Espinosa of the 12th Precinct uncovers evidence of an even more pervasive problem: potential corruption in the police department.
Assembling a task force of a few trusted officers, all of whom must keep their identities secret from the other policemen at the precinct, Espinosa is determined to root out every shred of evidence. A third woman remains at large, the one who escaped the assassinís bullet in an act of mistaken identity that saved her life but took anotherís.
As is his way, Espinosa develops a plan: he will uncover and eliminate the corruption that has poisoned his department; apprehend and arrest the killer; and, hopefully protect the third woman, still in hiding with the aid of the Inspector.
Then another woman appears on the scene, further complicating the already complicated cast of characters. This woman confides to Espinosa that she witnessed the murder of the misidentified mistress, watching from the window of her apartment. Now she is frightened because she believes the killer is aware of her presence at the scene, making her another potential victim.
Things come in threes for Espinoza: three policemen murdered, three mistresses, albeit one mistake, and the three women currently occupying space in his life: his longtime lover, Irene; Celeste, the victim who escaped; and the seductive witness, Serena. Each of Espinozaís recent acquaintances has a personal agenda for the inspector of which he is unaware.
Kept hopping by the recent events and faced with a threat of corruption that doesn't bode well for the 12th Precinct or the police department in general, Espinozaís natural inclination is to protect the innocent from harm. A thorough and logical detective, Inspector Espinosa deconstructs the crimes, separating the guilty from the innocent, although often barely in the nick of time.
In this exotic locale, Espinosa tackles his work with a passion matched only by his feelings for Irene, the woman who has taken up permanent residence in his heart. With the tropical colors and rhythmic beat of Rio in the background, Espinosa moves through the streets of a city where death never takes a holiday.